Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meringue with fresh fruit - week 17 of 52

This week I tried a recipe for meringue shells and fresh fruit. Meringue is a type of dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar.

I got the recipe from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook my sister got me last year. This was the main cookbook my mom had when we were growing up and for good reason – it has all your basic recipes and a great selection of other recipes!

Did you know (A little Alton Brown moment ): Cream of tartar is a chemical that helps beaten egg whites in the meringue recipe get to stiff peaks. When egg whites are beaten, some of the hydrogen bonds in the protien break, causing the protein's structure to unfold. This change in structure leads to the stiff consistency required for meringues. Cream of tartar is required to additionally denature the proteins to create the firm peaks, otherwise the whites will not be firm . Thank you Wikipedia!

This is a very easy recipe to make and would go well with any fresh berries which are available. I have substituted fresh whipped cream for the low-fat yogurt – who doesn’t like strawberries and whipped cream? The meringue is light and airy, with a little bit of crunch and with the tart strawberries and sweetened whipping cream, it makes a nice light dessert for spring or summer!

The recipe will take some time because you have to allow the meringues to sit in the over after baking for an hour to allow it to dry. I suggest making it even the day before – but don’t fill them with fruit or the filling, otherwise will get soggy.

Bon app├ętit!

Meringue shells with fresh fruit - 4-6 shells



2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teasoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 8-ounce carton fruit-flavored low-fat yogurt
2 cups sliced strawberries

Allow egg whties to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Draw six 3- to 4-inch circles on the paper; set aside.

For meringue, in a medium mixing bowl beat egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until very stiff peaks form and sugar is almost dissolved (about 7 minutes). Spread or pipe meringue over circles on paper, building up sides to form shells.

Bake in a 300 degree F. oven for 35 minutes.

Turn off oven; let meringue dry in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Do not open oven. Lift meringues off paper.

To serve, spoon yogurt into shells. Arrange fruit atop yogurt. Makes 4-6 servings.

Make ahead directions: Carefully wrap meringue shells in foil. Freeze up to 6 months.

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